A week before Christmas and I’ve got all the presents wrapped under the tree. Being a bit OC (obsessive-compulsive), this is already quite late for me, having had in the past, presents wrapped as early as July (believe you me!), but it’s not that big a deal anymore.
I used to like my stuff so orderly: white shirts in one shelf, black shirts in another and every clothing hung in their color group. This included socks too; classified in lengths as well as colors. My dresser was not only symmetrical but a Geometry teacher can find everything is perpendicular and trigonometrically in tangent with each item on the table. Our living room used to be Good Housekeeping-ly clean and chic with scented candles and unique bric-a-bracs tastefully positioned here and there for accents. My kitchen had been spotless and so was my bathroom; having had only Oliver to clean up after and he wasn’t that messy save for the cigarette ashes and butts on overflowing ashtrays and used clothes left from where they were last stripped off. I had been quite proud to show off our home to friends and family, as it took a few minutes of fluffing the throw pillows, lighting a soothing scented candle or oil on a ceramic burner and voila, cozy and everything in its place, inviting and all in harmony.
However, all that had changed and on hindsight, I guess it has for the better. Since becoming a mother, I have learned to let go of so many things, I think I have grown in leaps and bounds as a person and a woman I’m trying to become. For one, I don’t balk at a huge pile of laundry to be done when I used to be so panicky when the laundry basket is full and start washing everything on sight. Unwashed dishes no longer bother me and well, I’ve given most of my home décor knick-knacks to family and friends who would want them. Spending time with Amber before she is too old to tag along with mom is my priority and even if we bicker, and at six man can she bicker, or argue or even have our mother-daughter fights, we enjoy one another as best we can.
My inner OC screams and pulls her hair whenever my little munchkin does some oil painting or uses pastel crayons to doodle and draw then wipes her colorful hands on her very white shirt. The control-freak in me wants to dust and vacuum and scrub the entire household as my daughter skates or scooters all over with a cookie in one hand and really sticky and grimy fingers from whatever it was she had been doing a while before. My hidden anal-retentive personality tsk-tsks at how my kitchen table now looks with breadcrumbs, spots of orange juice and peanut butter goo on the cookie jar cover. Yet I stop myself, count to ten, breathe, and make a deep sigh relinquishing control and order for love and fun and motherhood. I see how she laughs and smiles and enjoys herself and I tell my inner selves to keep quiet and save it for when she’s a bit older – the lectures and reprimands – when she too would eventually fall into the order and routine that is part and parcel of our adult existence. For now, we’ll make play dough and run like silly, blow bubbles and wrestle, walk barefooted and eat with our hands sucking the sweetness of each moment off every chocolate covered finger. Because I know, I may not have this chance later.
As I prepare for Christmas Eve’s Noche Buena and Christmas Day, I look around at a home that has my daughter’s crayons on our living room’s center table, a lonesome sock on the sofa and her favorite toys on the floor. There are storybooks in the kitchen, a mermaid Barbie on the sink and a discarded school uniform on my bed. Amber is in her room, cutting up colorful paper to make snowflakes and as the mess grows, I look at her and see how she is developing her creativity. She happily chats with Fulgosi, her favorite stuffed pet dog, assuring the inanimate toy that surely Santa will give him a gift too because he’s been such a good doggie and all, and I stop myself from telling her off, wanting to bottle this warm feeling that makes my eyes water for as long as I can remember. She stops me from my mental meanderings as she shows me a red snowflake (well it looked nothing like a snowflake more like and amoeba with holes, really) and says, “Mommy this is my gift to you for being the best mommy in the world.” How can you beat that? She shows a green one meant for her dad and a little pink one for herself.
We hung the amoebas posing like snowflakes on the Christmas tree and make some cheesy cheese sandwiches for snacks (Cheese Whiz spread and mozzarella cheese on toasted bread) whilst singing “We Three Kings”, a carol she will sing in the children’s choir at church. I taught her the version I learned in college and she laughed at that too.
Since Amber, Christmas has had a new meaning and my id has truly gone furthest behind my other selves as I realize how much I have changed and grown in the past six years. I’ve learned to take each moment for what it is and let go of many material things in my life. I’ve truly learned to make someone else’s needs take precedence over mine. I have accepted the many changes in my time, priorities and habits and appreciate that sometimes it is good not to have any routine! I am more truthful, humbler, and forgiving, trying to set some form of example for my growing child, keen to practice what I preach and not come out as fake or contrived. My patience is now longer than China’s Great Wall and so is my joy, deeper than Marianas Trench and higher than Mt. Everest (or is it Mauna Kea?). Indeed being a mother especially of an inquisitive and precocious 6-year old sends you spinning in a frenzy of emotions and thoughts that keeps you wanting to blog about them but due to many other things keeps you from blogging anyways. Note my last blog was August this year…imagine that! Nevertheless, I try and so before the year ends I share some lines (a bit lengthy!) on what I am thinking and how I am nowadays.
It’s oft said that people never change…well, there is hope.